About a year ago, I saw an old metal toolbox for sale for $5 and decided to make a stereo out of it. You can see that instructable here https://www.instructables.com/id/Shop-Sound-Blueto...
That stereo is in my garage for when I'm working out there. I wanted to make a new one for work so I could listen to the radio at my desk. I work in the construction industry so I figured it would be good decor for my office.
Step 1: Parts/ Tools/ Price Lists
Below is a list of parts required as well as what I paid for them. Your costs may vary depending on where you source your materials.
- Craftsman Toolbox (any kind of toolbox will do, so long as your parts fit in it)
- A guy at work gave it to me after he pulled it out of a dumpster... It's in decent shape considering...
- I purchased some old surround sound speakers from Value Village (second hand store). there were 5 speakers for $4.
- Stereo Head Unit
- $ 50ish
- This is the brain of the operation. It's a car stereo/deck/head unit. I had to find one shallow enough to fit int he box, and one that had AM capabilities because the sports radio station that I like is and AM station. Normally I like to salvage parts and use secondhand materials but because I needed such a specific sized unit, I bought this one on amazon
- $ 50ish
- Power Supply
- Car stereos are not wired to be plugged into the wall so I needed a power supply to make this project come alive. Ensure it is the correct voltage and amperage for your application.
- Nuts and bolts
- I actually used what I had lying around instead of buying some this time.
- I harvested the antenna from a 90's Ford F150 at the junkyard. If you have a self serve junkyard near you, I suggest checking it out. It can be a great source of materials for projects and it gives you the opportunity to work on a vehicle, which I think is a vital skill
There are a few tools required here, but nothing that is too specialized.
- Screwdriver/ drill/ impact
- Knife/boxcutter/ putty knife
- Hacksaw or rotary tool (dremel)
- Metal files
- Soldering iron (optional)
Step 2: Harvesting Good Parts From the Speakers
The speakers that I bought are great, but I'll need to release them from their plastic homes in order to use them for this project. This involved a screwdriver, hacksaw (probably not the right tool), and pliers.
I unscrewed the 4 screws on the back to release the speaker from it's housing. The speaker wires went through the back of the plastic housing and had a dollop of glue on them to keep the wires from being able to slide in and out. I used the hacksaw to make a relief cut in the plastic, then used the pliers to break the housing apart to get at the glue. Once I could reach the glue, I used a knife to pry the wire loose.
I also harvested the speaker grilles. I wasn't sure if I would use them for this project or another, but I liked how they looked so I pried them out.
Step 3: Measure, Mark, Drill and Cut
Next I positioned the speakers and marked out where they would be cut. Then I drilled a hole to allow my jigsaw blade to fit in, then I cut out the speaker holes. After some filing, I was good to go. I decided at this point that I would use the speaker grilles so these holes did not need to be perfect circles as they would eventually get covered up. I do wish I had a hole saw for the speaker cutouts. Then I could leave them exposed and not have to worry about my shaky jigsaw hand and filing but I think they came out okay considering. I repeated the process for the hole for the head unit as well. It was tough to jigsaw it out because of the latches on the front. If I was to do this again, I would definitely use my dremel, however, I was fresh out of cutting discs.marked,
Step 4: Dry Fit the Speakers
I decided that my jigsawing wasn't clean enough to have the speakers exposed so I reused the speaker grilles from the surround sound speakers. Originally, I screwed the speakers to the box with the screw heads to the outside but then decided the screw from the inside as I liked the look better. Here you can see them screwed to the box from the inside with nuts holding the grilles on. For the final product, I used some black bolts and went without nuts as they are pretty tight already.
Step 5: Venting
There is potential for heat to build up inside the box, so I drilled some holes in the back to allow for venting. I marked a rough grid and used a countersink to make dents in the metal so my drill bit wouldn't slip around when drilling. When working with metal that is this thin, it is a good idea to put a piece of wood behind while drilling. this will ensure that the metal does not deform too much during the drilling process.
Step 6: Securing the Power Supply
I didn't want things to be rattling around in the box so I decided to zip tie the power supply into place. This is really the only thing that is loose. The head unit has a sleeve that sandwiches the front and back in place, and the speakers are screwed down. I drilled holes in the back of the box and fed a zip tie through. I had to connect 2 zip ties together to make them long enough. I't not my favourite solution, so if you make this, let me know how you held things in place.
Step 7: Electrical
Electrical is the hardest part for me. To be hones, amperage, voltage, watts... it's greek to me, but some googling and youtubing lead me to the information I needed. I had to cut the end off the power supply and solder it to the wires on the head unit. Luckily, there are online tutorials that helped a lot. I also had to solder the speaker wires to the head unit wires.
My solder jobs were pretty rough. When you do this, your solder joints will be much cleaner than mine. And you'll use heat shrink tubing instead of electrical tape. It works for now, but I wish it was nicer.
Step 8: Paint
I found a can of sparkly brown spray paint under my stairs, so I decided to give it a go. I really like the colour! Unfortunately, I spent the entire remainder of the can, so there was none left for touchups. Oh well... those scratches and missed sports are supposed to be there...
Step 9: The Antenna....
I really wanted to use a vehicle antenna for this project, so one Saturday morning, I went to the junkyard, and after nearly 2 hours of dismantling the dash from a 1994 ford F150, I came home with a $5 antenna. I like how it looks so it was a worthwhile trip.
When I got it home, I drilled a hole in the top of the box, cut it to size with the jigsaw (scratching the new paint in the process) and then filed it to it;s final size. It has a rubber gasket on it so it fits in there tight. Then I coiled up the remaining cord and zip tied it
The antenna greatly improves my radio reception.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
I had to reattach the old handle and emblem, so I used rivets. I really like how it looks with them attached.
Step 11: The Only Thing Left Is to Fire It Up!!
Overall, I'm pleased with how this project came out. There are things that I would change, but I do really like it. I can't wait to get it to it's final home at work!
If you like it, please give me a vote! If you have suggestions, or questions, let me know!
Thanks for reading!